We all love to imagine what the future and its technology may bring. As kids we would think about what jobs we would have, what age we would get married and how many pet robot monkeys we would own.
Throughout the years we have seen many films that attempt to paint a picture of what the future may look like. Blade Runner had us all believing we were going to be androids while others such as The Book of Eli showed us that not everything Denzil Washington touches turns to gold, but I digress.
It seems as though we are on the verge of a major breakthrough in science, technology and medicine that will define our lives for decades to come. The human workforce will be replaced by robots, major illnesses will be cured and ubiquitous computing will become an important part of our everyday existence.
You thought having an all in one camera, phone and pc in your pocket was impressive? You just wait a few more years…
1. Everything will be automated
In the near future the majority of shop assistants will be obsolete. Retail workers around the world will be able to rejoice in the knowledge that they won’t have to put on their happy face and deal with the general public.
An added bonus is that there will be no more Apple ‘geniuses’.
Within the next 10-15 years, in developed nations at least, the majority of retail environments will be cashless. Automated systems have made it possible for customers to shop with little or no physical interaction with a checkout.
Items are simply “scanned” as they pass out of the door. The customer is identified by a chip in their card, or with a prepayment transponder obtained from a vending machine outside the store.
Transactions are then generated over the Internet and everyone can go about their daily business without being harassed by an under-enthusiastic sales assistant.
Customers can also utilise Augmented Reality, to quickly locate shop items. A list on their mobile phone can direct them to the appropriate aisle and shelf. Sadly for the lazy folk, you still have to get it yourself.
Users can also make use of glasses with displays built into the lenses, but more on that later.
2. Matter replicators
Imagine a world where you could have whatever you wanted, whenever you wanted it. That latest piece of gadgetry, your friends awesome new jacket, it literally doesn’t matter what it is because you will soon have your own exact version.
Due to the amazing power of Nano technology, within our lifetime we will all own matter replicators that will make 100% exact copies of whatever we put inside it.
This isn’t just limited to basic solid objects. Copying a lump of coal wouldn’t be much fun to anyone. These machines will be able to copy everything from Laptops, Televisions, Shoes and Jewellery – probably even your cat too.
Probably not your cat to be fair but it’s worth a try.
Of course this will render money totally meaningless but that’s a good thing as for the first time in history everyone will have all the material possessions they desire.
Watch this cool video for a demonstration of the theory behind it.
3. We will have the internet in our field of vision
You have to love Google. Not only are they hell bent on world domination with their search engine tracking our every move but they are trying to get in our heads too.
Well that is the distant future, but for now they are testing hands free internet with their new goggle technology.
Google goggles – it has a nice ring to it.
Basically they are developing a new product for release sometime in 2014 that from the outside looks like a pair of those health and safety goggles you wore at school, but inside they will allow you to access the internet with just your eyes.
You will be seeing a large screen in your field of vision and you will also be able to control what you are doing with eye movements alone. You can embrace your inner Hawking and do all of your internet related business while keeping your hands free for other tasks.
The ubiquitous nature of these goggles means you could use them to integrate with smartphones and tablets, using eye gestures to unlock connected mobile devices when driving, cooking, or any activity that occupies your hands.
4. We’re all going to be super intelligent
Going one step further from Google’s field of vision internet idea will be the ability for technology to be fully integrated with our minds. We will in effect be a population of Terminators.
Leather biker trousers are strictly optional.
Scientists (sadists) have already experimented with planting chips inside the brains of monkeys and they found that their ability to memorise and learn was significantly increased. Even when dosed up to the eyeballs with cocaine.
Inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil remains confident in his prediction that by the 2030s, blood-cell sized computers will integrate with the human brain and dramatically expand its cognitive capacity well beyond the neocortex’s paltry 300 million or so pattern recognizers.
We will have tons of miniature computers roaming around in our brain all with the ability to access and store data. Low intelligence will be a thing of the past as everyone will be downloading and processing information 24/7.
Think of that scene in the Matrix when Neo’s brain was being uploaded with all that martial arts knowledge.
That’s basically our future.
5. Major illnesses and injuries will be cured
A lot of people are wary of the future and imagine it to all be a world where the fun has been replaced with sterile robotics and the government tracking our every move. Something people tend to forget is that the future always brings with it vast improvements in medicine and well-being.
Think back 100 years ago and diseases such as Syphilis were a virtual death sentence. 20 years ago HIV was largely viewed the same way. We are on the cusp of a major medical breakthrough that could restore full health to many people who are currently living with debilitating illnesses and injuries.
Within the next 10 years for example, we are likely to see;
- A pill that will replace sunscreen lotion
- An HIV vaccine
- The ability to regrow human organs from stem cells
- Fully functional bionic eyes that will restore sight to blind people
- Recreation of inner ear cells to cure deafness
- Finally a cure for the common cold
- Potential to regrow body parts
6. We’re going to live forever
I wrote a previous article where I mentioned various ways we can live longer but that was just adding several years on top of whatever life span we currently have. It’s nothing to get too excited about but what if we could live significantly longer?
Lunatic scientist Aubrey De Grey thinks that the first person to live to 1000 may already be 60 years of age. He says that the reason why age and eventually die is because our cells stop regenerating to their full extent but studies on mice have proved that we can slow this down. Eventually these cells could be prevented from ageing altogether and maybe even regenerated.
Adding these findings with the above idea of using stem cells to regrow body parts and organs and there may be a time when no matter what happens to us, we will simply be able to pop down the doctors and get a healthy dose of immortality juice.
Of course if you are stupid enough to not look both ways when crossing the road then living to an age when you can have a cup of tea with a bug eyed alien is probably not going to happen.